The Grit beneath the Glitter: Tales from the Real Las Vegas

By Hal K. Rothman; Mike Davis | Go to book overview

Las Vegas of the Mind
Shooting Movies in and about Nevada
FRANCISCO MENENDEZ

Snow covers a Chicago sidewalk. At the curb stands the “AllAmerican Gas Station, a front for organized crime. Several sedans, circa 1975, drive past as a large Lincoln cuts through the fresh snow at the station's entrance and parks next to one of the gas pumps. The Lincoln's door opens and out comes a huge man with salt-andpepper hair wearing a winter coat. He looks around to check if he is being watched and enters the gas station, carrying a heavy briefcase.

The man is Frank Marino, part of Nicky Santoro's “crew. Money skimmed from the Tangiers casino in Las Vegas is in his briefcase. The Tangiers has secret ties to a midwestern crime syndicate, and a payoff in dollars about to be delivered to the aging Remo Gaggi, head of the Chicago mob.

“Cut, says a sharp voice.

“Cut, and back to one, orders another voice.

The sharp voice belongs to the New York filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who now paces beside the Academy Award–winning cinematographer Robert Richardson. Next to them, a 65mm film camera focuses on the wintry scene. Through the camera's lens, the skyline of hotels and casinos reveals that the gas station is really located at the edge of downtown Las Vegas, not Chicago. 1

On the street, the dated “picture cars” return to their first positions. The Scorsese veteran Frank Vincent, who plays the role of Frank Marino, backs the Lincoln out through the snow-covered entrance. Two

-30-

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